Polynesia-micronesia biodiversity hotspot final draft for submission to the cepf donor council



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participation of local leaders 
and community members in 
the implementation of 
protection and recovery plans 
for threatened species 
 
3.1  Develop and implement species recovery plans for 
highly threatened species requiring species-focused 
action, especially those that have received little effort to 
date 
3.2  Strengthen leadership and effectiveness of local 
conservation organizations by developing peer-learning 
networks and promoting exchanges and study tours 
3.3  Raise the environmental awareness of communities 
about species and sites of global conservation concern 
through social marketing and participatory planning and 
management approaches 
4. Provide strategic leadership 
and effective coordination of 
CEPF investment through a 
regional implementation team 
  
4.1  Build a broad constituency of civil society groups 
working across institutional and political boundaries 
toward achieving the shared conservation goals 
described in the ecosystem profile. 
 
 
 
Strategic Direction 1: Prevent, control, and eradicate invasive species in key 
biodiversity areas 
It has already been stated that invasive species pose the dominant threat to the native 
biota and ecosystems of the hotspot. Dealing more effectively with invasive species
especially by preventing their introduction to alien-free islands and habitats, must be a 
major goal of the CEPF investment strategy. Implementation of this strategic direction 
will be performed in close collaboration with a number of regional initiatives including 
the GEF-funded Pacific Invasive Species Management Program, the IUCN Invasive 
Species Specialist Group’s (ISSG) Cooperative Initiative on Invasive Alien Species on 
Islands, the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk project, SPREP’s Invasive Species 
program, and others. The Cooperative Islands Initiative and other ISSG activities provide 
baseline support for the CEPF program.  
 

 
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1.1 Strengthen defences against the introduction and spread of invasive species and 
pathogens that threaten biodiversity 
Preventing the introduction of new invasive species is the ideal practice for vulnerable 
island ecosystems, followed by eradication and then control of invasives (Sherley and 
Lowe 2000). Prevention requires strong, well-resourced quarantine systems that are the 
responsibility of governments. Currently, few countries and territories have developed 
adequate guarantee systems to defend themselves from invasive organisms, but efforts 
are underway in most places, with international support, to improve official enforcement
staff, and infrastructure. 
 
The role of civil society organizations will be to foster improved legislation as well as 
public support for and participation in surveillance and monitoring programs. 
 
1.2 Control or eradicate invasive species in key biodiversity areas particularly where 
they threaten native species with extinction 
Many of the invasive species in the hotspot are on the IUCN’s list of 100 of the world’s 
worst invasive species (ISSG, n.d). It is impossible to control or remove all these alien 
invasive species from native ecosystems; there are simply far too many invasives and 
they are far too well established and distributed. However, projects should be developed 
in key biodiversity sites that target particularly serious invasive pests and pathogens. 
CEPF’s experience in managing pilot efforts supported by the Australian government’s 
Regional Natural Heritage Program developed thorough eradication plans and provided a 
strong foundation for replication and other future activities because of extensive 
community involvement. Control programs that also provide local benefits are likely to 
enjoy community support and to be most effective. 
 
1.3 Provide training in management techniques and develop rapid response capacity 
against particularly serious invasive species 
Best available information and training are required to improve policy, legislation and 
implementation procedures against invasive species. There is a particular need for more 
information on the distribution and impact of invasive species in sensitive sites and the 
identification of alien-free habitats. Surveys to establish where invasive alien species 
occur, covering all taxa in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, are a priority. 
Management training is also required on the tools and techniques for dealing with 
invasive species such as techniques for the early detection of new invasions and the 
assessment of risk for species proposed for import (Sherley and Lowe 2000).  
 
Strategic Direction 2: Strengthen the conservation status and management of 60 key 
biodiversity areas 
The conservation of key biodiversity sites and landscapes, even those that are nominally 
already protected, must be improved. The Pacific experience indicates that the 
governance model that is most likely to succeed are co-managed sites where local 
communities are intimately involved in the establishment and management of such areas. 
Investment priorities that will be supported by CEPF include the development of new 
protected areas to conserve priority sites; improvement in the management of existing 

 
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protected areas that are priority sites; and support for studies and information sharing 
research that will provide information to improve site management. 
 
2.1 Develop and manage conservation areas that conserve unprotected priority sites, 
especially critical refugia such as large forest blocks and alien-free habitats 
The development and management of ecologically viable and representative conservation 
areas is a major component of conservation strategies such as National Biodiversity 
Strategy and Action Plans for many countries in the hotspot. Such conservation areas are 
likely to be a mixture of a varied governance types depending on local circumstances. 
Emphasis should be given to the conservation of refugia such as the larger and more 
remote forest blocks and alien free habitats, which appear to have the best potential for 
sustainability.
 
 
2.2 Improve the management of existing protected areas that are priority sites 
Many existing protected areas suffer from a lack of sound management, including 
adequate protection from poachers and other threats such as habitat degradation and 
invasive species. This is often a result of poor financial support and possibly the 
application of an inappropriate governance regime. The management effectiveness of 
these areas can be strengthened by improved resourcing and training of managers and by 
improving the relationship with, and commitment to conservation by, local communities.  
 
Strategic Direction 3: Build awareness and participation of local leaders and 
community members in the implementation of protection and recovery plans for 
threatened species  
The investment priority that forms the focus of this strategic direction is to develop and 
implement species recovery plans for the prioritized set of threatened species, especially 
the Critically Endangered species needing special attention in addition to conserving their 
habitat. In keeping with CEPF’s global program the emphasis of this strategy will be on 
civil society and local community participation in such plans. 
 
3.1 Develop and implement species recovery plans for highly threatened species 
requiring species-focused action, especially those that have received little effort to date 
Species recovery plans are particularly needed for Critically Endangered species that 
require species-focused action, such as the control of harvesting, or dealing with threats 
such as invasive species. Emphasis should be placed on the species that have received 
little attention to date, such as some of the endemic land snails (especially Partula spp.), 
flying foxes (especially Pteropus spp.), and insectivorous bats and restricted range plants. 
Recovery plans must spell out the specific management measures required to conserve 
the species such as the establishment of reserves, the control of threats like habitat 
degradation, invasive species or hunting, along with the research needs. Most 
importantly, activities and overall support will be tailored to ensure implementation of 
the recovery plans. 
 
3.2 Strengthen leadership and effectiveness of local conservation organizations by 
developing peer-learning networks and promoting exchanges and study tours 
A key way to strengthen the leadership of local conservation organizations is to develop 

 
68
 
 
peer-learning networks. These networks will often include government officials to build 
and strengthen the mutual understanding and trust that is critical to successful 
collaboration on conservation goals. Peer learning networks can assist conservation 
professionals to share successes and lessons learned, identify and address shared needs 
for technical assistance, training and other support and to collaborate together on local 
and national issues effectively. This investment priority should also include the 
publication of literature on conservation lessons learned and on the region’s environment, 
written in English and local languages and at varied levels. 
 
3.3 Raise the environmental awareness of communities about species and sites of global 
conservation concern through social marketing and participatory planning and 
management approaches 
Few people in the hotspot are sufficiently aware of the uniqueness of the biodiversity of 
the hotspot, the severity of threats to it, and the significance of the biodiversity in 
maintaining the healthy structure and function of island ecosystems. Such awareness 
must be raised if biodiversity is to be valued properly by communities and their 
governments, and thereby adequately conserved. The most effective way of raising this 
awareness is through participatory planning and management approaches which provide 
information to communities to assist them to make better management decisions. The use 
of social marketing tools, where the goal is to elicit behavioral change rather than simply 
raising awareness, may be a useful approach for increasing political and social will to 
protect biodiversity.  
 
Strategic Direction 4: Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of 
CEPF investment through a regional implementation team 
An independent evaluation of the global CEPF program found that CEPF regional 
implementation teams are particularly effective with the support of the CEPF grant 
directors in linking the key elements of comprehensive, vertically integrated portfolios 
such as large anchor projects, smaller grassroots activities, policy initiatives, 
governmental collaboration, and sustainable financing. As recommended by the 
evaluators, the responsibilities of these teams, formerly known as coordination units, 
have now been standardized to capture the most important aspects of their function.  
 
In every hotspot, CEPF will support a regional implementation team to convert the plans 
in the ecosystem profile into a cohesive portfolio of grants that exceed in impact the sum 
of their parts. Each regional implementation team will consist of one or more civil society 
organizations active in conservation in the region. For example, a team could be a 
partnership of civil society groups or could be a lead organization with a formal plan to 
engage others in overseeing implementation, such as through an inclusive advisory 
committee. 
 
The regional implementation team will be selected by the CEPF Donor Council based on 
an approved terms of reference, competitive process, and selection criteria available at 
www.cepf.net
. The team will operate in a transparent and open manner, consistent with 
the CEPF mission and all provisions of the CEPF Operational Manual. Organizations that 
are members of the Regional Implementation Team will not be eligible to apply for other 

 
69
 
 
CEPF grants within the same hotspot. Applications from formal affiliates of those 
organizations that have an independent operating board of directors will be accepted, and 
subject to additional external review.  
 
4.1 Build a broad constituency of civil society groups working across institutional and 
political boundaries toward achieving the shared conservation goals described in the 
ecosystem profile  
The regional implementation team will provide strategic leadership and local knowledge 
to build a broad constituency of civil society groups working across institutional and 
geographic boundaries toward achieving the conservation goals described in the 
ecosystem profile. The team’s major functions and specific activities will be based on an 
approved terms of reference. Major functions of the team will be to: 

 
Act as an extension service to assist civil society groups in designing, 
implementing, and replicating successful conservation activities. 

 
Review all grant applications and manage external reviews with technical experts 
and advisory committees. 

 
Award grants up to $20,000 and decide jointly with the CEPF Secretariat on all 
other applications. 

 
Lead the monitoring and evaluation of individual projects using standard tools
site visits, and meetings with grantees, and assist the CEPF Secretariat in 
portfolio-level monitoring and evaluation. 

 
Widely communicate CEPF objectives, opportunities to apply for grants, lessons 
learned, and results.  

 
Involve the existing regional program of the RIT, CEPF donor and implementing 
agency representatives, government officials, and other sectors within the hotspot 
in implementation.  

 
Ensure effective coordination with the CEPF Secretariat on all aspects of 
implementation. 
 
Specific activities and further details are available in the CEPF Regional Implementation 
Team Terms of Reference and Selection Process. 
 
Sustainability 
Use of natural resources is basic to every economic system, and the connection of natural 
ecosystems to human livelihoods is particularly immediate in rural areas. Substantial 
investments that are designed and adopted in distant capital cities without local 
participation are frequently inappropriate for local realities and are regularly thwarted, 
either by physical conditions or by human resistance. Without costly and inefficient 
enforcement, plans emanating from national and international agencies that do not have 
local understanding and support invite failure.    
 
A fundamental assumption and raison d’etre for CEPF is that civil society commitment 
to conservation and sustainable development programs is necessary for them to work as 
planned. Experience over many years has demonstrated that top-down public sector 
initiatives by themselves are unlikely either to be effective or to endure. By engaging 
civil society in partnerships with governments and business firms, CEPF is intended to 

 
70
 
 
improve the potential for sustainable effects following from the much larger investments 
made by public and private organizations. 
 
In the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot, the sustainability of programs intended to improve 
the living conditions of rural and low-income people faces the particular challenges of 
political fragmentation among the many independent governments of small island states 
and the vast expanse of ocean that separates them. Regional structures clearly are 
necessary, but they are inherently fragile and are subject to substantial inertia and 
centrifugal force. Differences among people living on small islands are often exaggerated 
and their similarities or shared problems are often minimized. These high hurdles will 
lead CEPF to reinforce sub-regional links, where habits of cooperation are already 
present (such as in Micronesia), at the same time that it supports region-wide projects and 
partnerships that are needed to respond to large-scale threats (such as invasive species). A 
tight fabric of civil society partnerships at varied scales is needed to increase the prospect 
of efforts to conserve threatened ecosystems in the Pacific being maintained independent 
of future financing from CEPF and other international donors.     
 
CONCLUSION 
The value, uniqueness, and vulnerability of the terrestrial biodiversity of the Polynesia-
Micronesia Hotspot are well recognized. The species and ecosystems of the hotspot are 
among the most highly threatened in the world and yet terrestrial conservation activities 
are severely under-funded and our biological knowledge of the hotspot is incomplete and 
poorly managed. There are significant opportunities for CEPF to fund actions that 
empower the stewards of the biodiversity of the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot - the 
island communities and institutions - to conserve biodiversity (especially those species 
and sites that are globally threatened) more effectively. Since Pacific communities are 
still highly dependent on biological resources for survival, the achievement of 
biodiversity conservation objectives is essential for sustaining human livelihoods as well 
as for the maintenance of essential ecosystem functions. 
 

 
71
 
 
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE TEXT 
 
AusAID 
Australian Agency for International Development 
BYU   
Brigham Young University 
BP  
British 
Petroleum 
CABS   
Center for Applied Biodiversity Science 
CBCA  
Community Based Conservation Area 
CBD  
Convention 
on 
Biological Diversity  
CBO  
Community-based 
Organization 
CEPF   
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund 
CI  
Conservation 
International 
CII  
Cooperative 
Island 
Initiative (of ISSG) 
CITES  
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 
CNMI   
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands  
CROP   
Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific 
EBA   
Endemic Bird Areas 
EVI 
 
Environmental Vulnerability Index 
FAO   
Food and Agriculture Organization 
FFA  
Forum 
Fisheries 
Agency 
FSM   
Federated States of Micronesia 
FSPI   
Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International 
GEF   
Global Environment Facility 
GIS 
 
Geographical Information System 
GTZ   
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (German Aid) 
IBA 
 
Important Bird Areas 
IUCN   
The World Conservation Union  
(formerly the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and 
Natural Resources) 
IPCC   
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
ISSG  
Invasive 
Species 
Specialist Group (of IUCN) 
MCT  
Micronesia 
Conservation 
Trust 
MEA  
Multilateral 
Environmental 
Agreement 
NBSAP National 
Biodiversity 
Strategy and Action Plan 
NCSA  
National Capacity Self Assessment 
NEMS  
National Environmental Management Strategy 
NGO  
Nongovernmental 
organization 
NZAID 
New Zealand Agency for International Development 
PA  
Protected 
Area 
PABITRA Pacific 
Asia 
Biodiversity Transect Network 
PBIN   
Pacific Basin Information Node 
PICT   
Pacific Island Country or Territory 
PIER   
Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk Project 
PSA 
 
Pacific Science Association 
SGP 
 
Small Grants Program 
SPC 
 
Secretariat for the Pacific Community 
SOPAC 
South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission 

 
72
 
 
SPREP  
South Pacific Regional Environment Program 
TNC  
The 
Nature 
Conservancy 
UNCCD 
United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification 
UNDP  
United Nations Development Program 
UNESCO 
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 
USP 
 
University of the South Pacific 
USAID 
United States Agency for International Development 
WCS   
Wildlife Conservation Society 
WWF-SPP 
World Wide Fund for Nature- South Pacific Program  
 
 
 
 

 
73
 
 
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